So I have that one best friend who has been sharing recipes here for about a year. (She’s sort of on hiatus because she’s doing big things with food, so we’re kind of small potatoes at this point. But we still love her and her food and her cat photos on Instagram, too.)
I have that one other best friend who can whip really badass stuff up. This one time we went on a vacation, and she was all like, “Hey, don’t laugh at me guys, but I made myself a dress. Can I show you what it looks like? Be honest if it sucks, okay?” Then she came out in this super fancy maxi dress with sweet v-neck shape and flowy shoulders and cinched waist, and we were all like, “WTF? Make us one of those not now but right fucking now.” And then she acted all like NBD. She’s kind of like that about all the really cool stuff she makes, whether it’s a dress, an apron, or you know, stuff like DIY HEADBOARDS. She just shrugs it off, so I was like, “Send me pics so I can show you off because I’m not that good at that kind of stuff.”
I made my own rice in a rice cooker yesterday in case you were wondering.
Missy’s DIY Headboards
What you’ll need:
- 3-4 pieces of 24 inch by 24 inch plywood (Can be picked up at most hardware stores by the scrap wood pieces)
- 2-3 yards of foam 1-2 inches in thickness
- 3 yards of fabric
- Loctite Spray Adhesive (general purpose)
- Scissors or fabric cutter
- Staple gun
Lay down the plywood and spray with Loctite Spray Adhesive. You may want to do this on a piece of cardboard if you don’t have space outdoors dedicated to a project like this.
Quickly lay foam pieces on top of the plywood and apply pressure. You may need to lift the corners and spray as needed. Flip the board upside down so that the foam is on the bottom.
While the pieces set, lay out your fabric with the right side (brightest side of the fabric) of the fabric facing down. Use a fabric pencil to mark a yard out from the edge of the fabric. OVER MEASURE. Use the ruler to draw a straight line down from the yard you marked.
Use a fabric cutter to cut along the line you made. This is where the over measuring comes in handy. Over Measuring will save your butt and you can actually cut right before the line and still be safe.
Lay a piece of your cut fabric with the right side still down. Place the foam board on top with the foam down. The edges on one side are going to look too short. This is okay and is actually a really good starting point to make sure you get your fabric pulled nice and tight.
Begin to staple the short sides to the board. I left about a half of inch to inch on the ends unstapled. This will give you some room to adjust when you move to forward.
Fold the fabric like you’re wrapping the ends of a present. Pinch in each corner and fold over. Repeat on all four sides. (If you put a staple in and realize it was a fail, don’t panic, a flat head screwdriver will remove the staple with a little effort and should not ruin your fabric.)
Today I want to talk about a problem I’ve had for many years. One that only recently went away, but when I look back at it, I am fascinated. And wondering if I’m not the only one. It’s unlikely I’m the only one, but it’s so silly I feel it can’t possibly be A Thing.
I’ve got a thing for library book fines. It’s pretty uncanny, actually.
In college, I owed the libraries books well after I moved home for the summer. As a teenager, I had a book so overdue once that when I went to return it, I owed more than the book was worth, and I got in a lot of trouble. After I moved to Chicago, I got into the habit of checking out five, six books at a time, and ultimately would forget to return them — then forget again — and three months later, there I was, in the dog house, paying up big for — what?
I remember the books sitting on my desk at work in a neat pile. I remember walking during most lunch days to run some kind of errand, and somehow that errand never made its way back to the Chicago Public Library. I could have renewed the books, I could have returned them to a more conveniently located library, I could have just checked out a single book — rather than six large bricks of mostly unread content. Why did I think I was going to read six books in just over a month?
I suppose I have always wanted to be a person who lives in books. Not just reads for fun, but like those people whose houses are filled with objects merely meant to support piles and piles of books of different scents and eras, colors and sizes. Like Sabrina’s Dad or any mad genius in one of a million movies. To me, piles of books look like the way I want my brain to be.
So I’ve always checked out more books than I could handle, and the weight of the disappointment of not making the time to be what I thought I wanted to be probably kept me from dragging that disappointment back to where it started. It’s hard to admit defeat in the face of a book that was out of reach, too intelligent, too jargon-y. So there on many desks of my life have sat volumes and anthologies of physics and theory and psychological disorders and novels far beyond my comprehension.
As a reminder.
Before I didn’t have piles of books but tried to, I actually read all the time. Each trip to the library was a renewal of my fantasy child world, where I went away from the laughably cruel school day and got a free pass to sort of “buy” something for myself — during a time when we really never did much buying of anything without a bit of an ache. The Racine Public Library was like an episode of Supermarket Sweep, except in Supermarket Sweep, the contestants don’t stop to sniff the produce.
The comfort of book smell from even a very young age was so powerful. The sound of the protective lining crinkling as I opened the cover. The neat penmanship of the librarian who’d loaned this particular treasure out to the many before me. The pages with coffee or other stains. Leftover bookmarks or makeshift bookmarks like coupons or index cards or scratch paper. All just so … satisfying.
I’d kick my feet on the bus all the way there, wondering if there’d be a special theme or book subject of the month, doled out by the lovely staff. Would it be birds? Pioneers? Friendship? Holiday-related? And would there be NEW books? Jesus, don’t even get me started on being the first to borrow a book. I carried those with a responsibility far beyond my years and a dizzying sense of pride. Sometimes I’d worry the next book in a series might be checked out or that I might want to read a book another kid was looking at, as I knew my bad habit of hovering. But mostly, meaning like 99.9% mostly, I just wanted to get there and pick whatever I wanted in the only place I could.
As an adult, I walk into a library with the same excitement but a deficit in ability to make good on my dreams. I bite off more than my brain can chew. I end up with that ever-symbolic pile of books that some version of me at some time would have consumed almost instantly. And the overdue fines. For books that needed to travel less than a mile every time.
These days I borrow a maximum of two books. I’m actually about to finish one of my currently checked out reads, and I feel pretty confident in the other one, too. I’ve also adopted a new appreciation for renewals — it just takes a couple simple clicks online. Maybe I’ll get back to my old (old) ways again, maybe I won’t. I think I’ve come to terms with how I spend my time and what I’m trying to accomplish when I read. Back then it was to learn everything because I felt most of the world was ahead of me. Now, I try to fill silent time with something other than Felicity or Wonder Years on Netflix, so I read for pleasure. No more Botany for Beginners or whatever other heady, highly ambitious books I think I’ll just take down because yeah, there’s all this time in the world. Maybe — someday — there will be all the time in the world, but at least for now, I’m managing my expectations a bit better.
And loving how much less it costs.
We’ve been temporary cat parents for almost two weeks now. Originally, we were unsure of how two cats would react to a life with two relatively untrained hosts with novice hands and zero cat intuition. Our more immediate fears were remedied after first introductions went well, and we’ve just been reading the animals and the Internet since to get a grasp on how to be good at this cat thing.
And now, we’re just fucking cat crazy.
I walk around the house with the camera like a cat paparazzo, roll around on the floor for a quick snuggle, give the cats daily kisses and have grown accustomed to wondering what they’re doing while we’re at work (although it’s 99% likely they’re asleep). I’ve considered on a few occasions hobbling home on lunch to say hi to them because sometimes if we’re gone for a whole day, they’re a bit aloof upon our return, and I’m all like, “Man, I’m sorry.” And they’re like, “Hmmf.”
Gossamer (all black girl cat) is a sweetie, plain and simple. Within a few days of living here she was letting me rub her white patch belly, wrapping her front paws around my hand, being ADORABLE. She doesn’t like being photographed that much and will only play with a toy if it doesn’t require that she get out of her designated chair. It’s fun watching her lazily paw at the Cat Dancer we bought last week like she’s obligated to at least entertain us. She’ll crawl up onto our laps while we watch TV, and I must admit, it’s the relationship with her that affirms my belief that Jan and must have cats once this arrangement has reached its end. She’s the cat’s pyjamas.
Bonkers (tuxedo boy cat) is hilarious. And a TALKER. Dude just wants to get a word in. And he wants to play. Where Gossamer shows little interest, he has much to spare. Luring him with the Cat Dancer is a game of staying on the rug — once the hunt goes to the hardwood floor, he resigns, knowing his claws give him a disadvantage on slippery ground. So we tap into his inner hunter in about a 4×6 area of the living room every day. At first I wondered if he really thought he was hunting, but then I realized we’re both just sort of having a good time. Bonkers likes to be pet on his own terms. If you reach for him, he’ll let you get a quick swipe of the shiny fur, but it’s much more in his fashion to wait until you’re busy to jump on the back of your chair (never on your lap) or the back of the couch where you’re sitting and he’ll get juuuust close enough to you. He’s taken over more of the house, kneading his favorite spots. One night we let him sleep in our bed and the only place acceptable for the Cat Master was my head, so we’ve since adopted a closed door nighttime policy even though Gossamer sleeps at our feet like a princess.
The cats love the crooning of Harry Connick, Jr., sunshine by the windows, stretching, sprawling out, pushing doors that are only open a tiny crack all the way open, rubbing up on stuff and butt scratches. So really, they’re quite easy to please — and I relate to most of their needs. It’s a wonder neither Jan nor I became cat people sooner. Because this is totally our thang.
Whenever we face a horrific event in the United States, I am shaken and hold Jan a little tighter, text my Dad and feel grateful that this time, this senseless event was not aimed at my family. The Boston Marathon bombing and now subsequent manhunt remind me that there’s a large network of patriots who are playing a role in bringing justice to those who so viciously took and ruined the lives of so many. For what reason? To me, it only matters in so much as we are able to understand it, better know it if it’s happening and prevent it in the future. Extremism and terrorism, when given a weapon, doesn’t seem to know negotiation or peace.
I hope that in the parts of the world where we have done wrong or where we have indirectly done wrong by illogically giving weapons and power to oppressors, we try to admit our past and show our compassion for the lives lost. I often wonder the extent of what we’ve done. And I’m so sad that innocent civillians have lost their lives over decisions made by a select few.
Whenever we face a horrific event in the United States, I think of the rest of the world, and how our rare tragedy is their daily hell. This image from Syria is jarring.
The world sees our struggle, and it reaches out. The pain and loss is what connects us to so many. Yet, we have a sense of control here — in other parts of the world, the panic we have felt this week is sustained. Today I am thinking about what it means to be free and wishing it was a better possibility for billions. Today I am wishing that as we have the important discussions of what our freedom means — and the privilege of mostly peace that comes with it — that we turn our hearts and our minds out to an unstable, suffering world.